Saturday in a paragraph: It was really cold. Iowa tried to give us the game in the first half, and we went into the pink locker room with a 14-point lead. Because of that lead, we ignored the fact that nothing we were doing offensively was working, and made no adjustments. This is Michigan...halftime adjustments are for pussies. Iowa and Kirk Ferentz made adjustments on both sides of the ball, and summarily beat the shit out of us for the next 30 minutes. This is not nice to say, and I hate to say it, but barring something special...like really special...on Saturday, I will remember team 134 for one thing: being soft. I don't know that I've ever seen us pushed around like we were in Iowa City. It was embarrassing. The cherry on top of the shit sundae was a game ending turnover by our senior quarterback. And that, my friends, was Michigan at Iowa 2013.
I've kept the '97 Michigan Big Ten Elite episode from BTN in my DVR for several weeks now. I watch it every now and then. The occasional Hoke quotes in it make me happy and give me hope because of his ties to...well...to the only thing we have left to hold on to. But I don't even know if that is worth a pass anymore. It wasn't long after that magical season that a good number of us turned on that regime...a young Donavan McNabb and the inability to win west of the Mississippi will due that to you.
I spent some time going through some old games as well. OSU '95 and '96 were at the top of my list, perfect to fuel this weekend's (very) remote possibility of an upset. It was oddly uninspiring. The '98 Rose Bowl followed, and I added in Under the Lights #1 for good measure. Still nothing. I ended with OSU '11, which culminated with a gatorade drenched Brady Hoke surrounded by a crowd of fans rushing the field, saying what I thought of at the time as all the right things.
He says very little of substance these days, maybe he never did. He seems to be more open than Lloyd used to be, but he's not. Besides being a "molder of men," Coach Hoke is a master of coachspeak. And I'm not trying to say that's a good or a bad thing, but it is a "Michigan-thing," which is a phrase used to describe an environment where we lie to reporters and fans, pretend everything is all right and that "This is Michigan" so we will be OK...evoking a certain passion for better times in history, especially in the absence of anything tangible in the present. This history is a history we hold dearly, despite the fact that Nick Saban has accomplished more in a few years at Alabama than the entirety of that history.
Michigan will forever languish unless we unburden ourselves from a history that's now almost completely irrelevant.— Alex Cook (@Alex_MnB) November 26, 2013
Life moves pretty fast in this social media driven world. And so the question is here, even though we all answered it with a resounding "yes" after his first season. Is Brady Hoke the guy? The problem with that question is that even asking it starts us down a slippery slope that compounds losses with losses of recruits.
Nobody loves a story of the mighty falling than the people that give us our sports news every day...even though we haven't been mighty for some time. And so the snowball grows. And despite the fact that everybody knows we have no business winning this weekend, and likely never did, that loss will add to the problem. A shitty bowl invitation will follow and be mocked. A loss at that embarrassing Bowl Game and we'll be thisclose to lame duck status.
And then what do you do? Start over? Is this bigger than Hoke? Do you like the Jerry Jones Brandon path we are taking? Shit, there's not even a president of the university available to make that decision.
Or is it smaller than Hoke, and remedied by sacrificing an assistant or two?
I'm pretty sure Dave is just going to stand by Hoke and his staff for another year, which seems to be the easiest choice. Of course, this comes with its own caveats as it puts a ton of pressure on the staff and players. We'll be subjected to a season of Hot Seat banter, and ESPN.com polls of how many wins Hoke needs to earn his 5th year. Players will be subjected to coaching questions. Recruits will be called everyday to reconfirm their commitments.
We're in a bad place.
As the patience wears thin, so do all things Hoke. "Fergodsakes" and "Beat Ohio," once kitschy and fun, are becoming punchlines. Fans that enjoy such things are being looked at as mindless lemmings. The fan base is split again, nearly RichRod style.
As always, there is an answer to this problem, and it's the same answer it's always been: WIN. No one is poo pooing WE ON or WE HAD SUBS IT WAS CRAZY. We don't mock Bacari's endless motivational tweets, and his patented #HALOL...because basketball seems to improve year to year, seems to develop players, and most importantly, it WINS.
In the likely absence of a football win this weekend, the wins need to come soon, often, and in many cases, always.
So here I am, unable to muster up enough spirit to expect the upset and wavering in my belief in Hoke's plan moving forward...yet also unable to say it's time for him or anyone around him to go, if for no other reason than for continuity...and my blind hope for the best.
We are caught between Hoke and Change. In this place there is only one thing we can do: wallow in that sea of red in our home stadium and hope for the best...continuing to pull for the men on the field despite our feelings for those leading us on the sideline.
Man, I could have copied and pasted that from 2010.
Keep Calm and Go Blue!